Book your death cab now: the week’s best rock and pop gigs

Death Cab For Cutie, Rudimental, Ronnie Spector, Years & Years, Boyzone, The Delines

Death Cab For Cutie are at the Olympia Theatre in Dublin on Thursday

Death Cab For Cutie are at the Olympia Theatre in Dublin on Thursday


Saturday January 19

Olympia Theatre, Dublin 7pm €38.05;
also Sunday January 20th, same venue

Nominations for the Mercury Prize and MTV Europe Music Awards, winner of Brit Awards and MOBO Awards – UK music act Rudimental have led the way in putting their blend of drum and bass, jungle, hip-hop and pop/soul as close to the top of the charts as possible. They formed in 2010, and it took a few years for people’s ears to perk up, but from 2013’s debut album, Home, to now (their new album, Toast to Our Differences, is released next week), Rudimental haven’t put a foot wrong. These shows are close to selling out, so look sharp! TCL 

The Workman’s Club, Dublin 8pm €15;
also Black Box, Belfast Sunday January 20th 3pm £10

Last year’s album, From When I Wake the Want Is, was the second in a row that handed Scottish singer-songwriter Kathryn Joseph the kind of plaudits that most musicians dream about. The album is the follow-up to her 2015 debut, Bones You Have Thrown Me and Blood I’ve Spilled (the winner that year of the Scottish Album of the Year Award), and continues Joseph’s channelling of grief, and how optimism can be possible if you try hard enough to apply it to your life. Anyone with a liking for PJ Harvey, Joanna Newsom and Björk – and of resolutely original voices – will find much to admire here. TCL

Wigwam, Dublin €6.24-€12.49
Back in 2014, the low-tempo house tune Feel Me by Manchester DJ and producer Willow (Sophie Wilson) was included in DJ Move D’s Fabric 74 mix, which was then featured on Lowtec’s Workshop compilation. Willow’s mixes take in classic hip-hop, ambient techno and quirky house music and, with a slow, thudding bass, her tunes get you moving slowly while reverberating deep in your chest. She’s definitely a producer to keep an eye on in the coming years. LB

The Sugar Club, Dublin €10-€15
In order to keep the January blues at bay, some January soul and funk could be just the ticket. The ChoiceCuts DJs will be playing in the main room before and after a screening of the original 1971 version of Shaft, starring Richard Roundtree, with a whooper soundtrack provided by Isaac Hayes. Doors are at 8pm and the film starts at 8:45pm. There will be dancing, cocktails, beer, wine, popcorn and soul. Grand. LB

Monday January 21

National Concert Hall, Dublin 8pm €55/€50/€45
Oh, the tales Veronica Yvette Bennett could tell. As Ronnie Spector, the Spanish Harlem singer enjoyed a string of classic pop hits in the early to mid-1960s, but her marriage to the infamous record producer Phil Spector put her career on ice (read her 1990 memoir, Be My Baby: How I Survived Mascara, Miniskirts and Madness for the full scarifying details). Long since back on track, Ronnie remains in fine voice, and is visiting Ireland for the first time in 25 years. Expect a nostalgia-driven show perfect for fans of classic ’60s pop, with a complementary backdrop of visuals and archive footage. TCL  

Olympia Theatre, Dublin 7pm €30 (sold out);
also Tuesday January 22nd, same venue (sold out)

Almost five years after winning the BBC Sound of 2015 poll (and almost 10 since they formed in 2010), UK group Years & Years have fully established themselves as the ones to listen to when you’re looking for a decent electro-pop fix. Last year’s concept album Palo Santo (their second, and follow-up to 2015 debut Communion) may have had a jokey connotation (it is Spanish for “holy wood”), but its success and themes (joining the dots between pop music and spirituality) were serious business. TCL  

Tuesday January 22

Academy, Dublin 7pm €22.50 (sold out)
It seems mystifying that an American “controversial” hip-hop star with more than 600,000 Instagram followers is playing one of Dublin’s smallest music venues. Admittedly, the gig is sold out, and it is a larger indoor venue than the one she previously played in Dublin (Whelan’s – we were there, and we were suitably unimpressed), but you have to crunch some shape of numbers to come up with the conclusion that she isn’t exactly a mainstream figure here. Disruptive? Argumentative? Better known for her clashes with a wide array of famous people than her music? Yes to all questions – which makes this gig essential just for the who-knows-what-might-happen hell of it. TCL

Wednesday January 23

The Grand Social, Dublin €13.54
Future Me Hates Me is the brilliantly titled debut album from the New Zealand indie-pop band The Beths. Full of uptempo songs loaded with self-deprecating zingers, the band is fronted by Elizabeth Stokes, who also writes the majority of the group’s songs, and she’s joined by her high school pal Jonathan Pearce on guitar and their University of Auckland pals Benjamin Sinclair on bass and Ivan Luketina-Johnston on drums. Expect some feel-good pop songs and grade A harmonies. LB

Thursday January 24

Olympia Theatre, Dublin 7pm €34.50 (sold out)
Perhaps the only American alt.rock band named after a song written by members of the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, Whatcom County, Washington’s Death Cab for Cutie have weathered stormy trends for over 20 years without capitulating. It goes to show that there is still a healthy audience for the band’s smart delivery of indie rock/pop. Last year’s album Thank You for Today will be rifled for material, of that you can be assured. TCL

3Arena, Dublin €68.15-€79.14
You’d be forgiven for thinking that this day came and went a long time ago, but Boyzone are embarking on their first and final (well . . . we’ll see) farewell tour. After 25 years as a group, they’ve decided it’s time to move on. Their final album Thank You & Goodnight was released this November gone and features tributes to and old vocals by Stephen Gately, who died in 2009. Even though it’s a little later than expected, the disbanding of Boyzone is the end of an era for all boyband fans. LB

Whelan’s, Dublin 8pm €18.50
Keen observers of finely tuned Americana might recall John Paul White as having been one half of much-lauded duo The Civil Wars (with songwriter and singer Joy Williams). His solo career, however, is proving to be just as acclaimed – his latest album, Beulah, picked up some terrific reviews when it was released over two years ago, with Mojo praising it to the hilt: “The songs, many acoustic and trailing brutal honesty, speak clearly enough to grip you in their gnarled fist.” Expect to hear tracks off that record, as well as a preview of newly minted material. TCL  

Róisín Dubh, Galway 8pm €20/€18
also Liberty Hall Theatre, Dublin Friday
January 25th 7.30pm €26
When Willy Vlautin isn’t writing superb books such as The Motel Life, Lean on Pete and Don’t Skip Out on Me, he is composing equally affecting songs, populated more or less by the same kind of people as in his books. Life’s shortcomings, cautious joys and the pitiful downsides of the human condition are Vlautin’s primary focus, and he brings these vividly to life via his latest band, The Delines. Their new album, The Imperial, was released last week, so a part of the set will be taken up to promote that, but we’ll guarantee some songs from their 2014 debut, Colfax, will also be aired. Classy. TCL

Friday January 25

Whelan’s, Dublin 8pm €15
Those Irish and Irish-based musicians who have a minuscule presence on the airwaves have teamed up for a sonic project titled 101 Beats per Minute. An invite was dispatched to a motley gathering of musicians/producers to compose a piece of music at the speed of 101 bpm. The idea behind it, says Irish electronic musician Dunk Murphy, who is overseeing the event, is to “create a collective hub for inspiration . . . and a dialogue between a bunch of music makers who might normally work in isolation.” Tonight’s show is the album launch of the resulting work and will feature live sets from Margie Jean Lewis, Minced Oath, and T-woc (aka David Cleary). DJ sets are from Deasy and Karla Healion. Being the lovely people they are, they’ve included a copy of the 22-track double CD as part of the admission fee. Sound as a pound, or what? TCL

isín Dubh, Galway €8
If pop music, dramatic lip-syncing, dancing and all-round fabulousness is your thing, Club Gass provides all of the above. With doors opening at 11:30pm, DJ Ruth will warms things up with a delivery of bangers before and after the show. The Club Gass Spectacular Drag Show kicks off at midnight, with performances from Kiki and her girl gang. Ireland’s Got Talent semi-finalist and drag star extraordinaire Paul Ryder is billed as a very special guest. LB

The Bernard Shaw, Dublin Adm free
Hothouse Label is a brand new record label that focuses on underground Irish music. Led by Dave Kerr from Mindset Musik, Damien from Momentum DJs and Daz from PrYmary Colours, the Hothouse collective also consists of Reveller and party-planning queens H&G Creations. Music and entertainment on the night will come from all of the above, as well as Homebeat’s Emmet Condon, and their first release HHL 001: House of Love will be available on the night. LB

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